Hurricane Michael, one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the continental United States in decades, slammed into Florida’s Panhandle on Wednesday as a Category 4 storm, then brought heavy rain and winds to Georgia and the Carolinas. Follow our live updates here and see photos from the ground.
The storm intensified so rapidly that it took millions of residents by surprise and left more than a dozen people dead. It was downgraded to a tropical storm at midnight on Wednesday.
Gov. Rick Scott of Florida has activated the Florida Disaster Fund to provide financial support to those affected by Hurricane Michael. Charity Navigator, which provides ratings of charities, has compiled a list of organizations delivering aid, including the American Red Cross, World Hope International and Matthew 25: Ministries.
There are many more organizations helping the victims of Hurricane Michael, many of them trustworthy. But if you are considering donating to a lesser-known organization, do a little research first to make sure it is reputable.
The Internal Revenue Service has search tools that reveal whether an organization is eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions.
If you suspect an organization or individual is engaging in fraud, you can report it to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
The American Kidney Fund is helping with transportation expenses for dialysis treatment, replacing lost medications and assisting with temporary housing.
AmeriCares has deployed relief workers to Florida to deliver emergency medicines and relief supplies, and to offer support to health clinics.
International Medical Corps said it has sent teams of doctors and nurses to Florida at the request of the state’s Department of Health.
The Red Cross warns that severe weather can often decrease donor turnout and cancel blood drives. It cited a “critical need” for blood and platelet donations following Michael. Appointments can be made on the organization’s website, via its blood donor app or by calling 1-800-733-2767.
The nonprofit OneBlood, which serves Florida and most of the Southeast, is also encouraging people to donate.
Airbnb hosts in the regions marked on this map are opening their homes for free to relief workers and those displaced by the storm from Oct. 8 to Oct. 29. Those interested in hosting evacuees can sign up here.
Samaritan’s Purse is calling for donations and volunteers to deliver aid and help homeowners rebuild.
SBP, a national disaster recovery nonprofit, will provide services like gutting and mold remediation and help residents rebuild.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is mobilizing volunteers to pack boxes of food to send to those who have been affected by the storm.
Save the Children is providing hygiene kits, portable cribs, baby wipes, toys and children’s activities. And an organization based in Florida, Clean the World Foundation, is also providing kits with hygiene supplies.
Florida Urgent Rescue, a nonprofit based in Jacksonville, provides rescue, medical care, fostering and adoption services for animals. Big storms often result in more strays that stretch shelters to capacity, so FUR helps with evacuations and began moving animals out of harm’s way before Michael made landfall in Florida.
The Florida State Animal Response Coalition is accepting donations to rescue animals across the state, provide emergency shelter and help existing shelters recover from damage. Their long-term work involves helping shelters prepare for disasters in advance.
The Humane Society of the United States is providing logistical support to shelters in areas damaged by the storm, including by helping to transport animals out of damaged or overcrowded facilities. It is accepting donations to its Emergency Animal Rescue Fund.